by: Alex N. (@alexnz)
Where has the time gone? Fall is already here and it’s bringing with it the next batch of must-play, AAA games. So far we’ve already had hot releases like Borderlands 2, Dishonored, and XCOM: Enemy Unknown. None of which I’ve even THOUGHT about playing yet because I’m already embarrassingly behind on my pile of shame from last year… not to mention the equally amazing downloadable titles that have been coming out (The Walking Dead, Tokyo Jungle, Mark of the Ninja, to name a few.)
This week, however, brings the hotly anticipated sequel to the long running Assassin’s Creed franchise, Assassin’s Creed III. This is the first game in the series that has featured a brand new protagonist and setting since Ubisoft annualized it with 2009’s Assassin’s Creed II.
Seeing as the series seems to be wrapping up with AC3, I thought it would be beneficial to summarize the story events of the mainline games for anyone out there that needs a quick refresher or is just is new to the franchise and doesn’t know what the hell is going on!
And if you couldn’t tell already BELOW THARR BE SPOILERS!
The story starts in the near future centering around the series’ protagonist, Desmond Miles. Desmond has been kidnapped by the corporate entity Abstergo. Their goal is to extract information from Desmond that only his ancestors know. The way they’re able to obtain this information is via the Animus; a device that taps into the subjects’ genetic memory, allowing them to relive the events of any of their predecessors’ lives.
The information that Abstergo wants lies in the memories of Desmond’s ancestor, Altaïr ibn-La’Ahad. Taking place in the 12th century, Desmond is forced to retrace Altaïr’s footsteps to the discovery of the Piece of Eden. This journey takes Desmond through Altaïr’s journeys to the cities of Acre, Damascus, and Jerusalem performing assassination jobs against key templar agents. Through these assassinations, Altaïr is unraveling a Templar conspiracy within the ranks of his Assassin brotherhood. At the same time, Desmond is trying to escape from his captors in between sessions in the Animus.
This all ends with Altaïr obtaining the Piece of Eden from his master Al Mualim, who turns out to be a Templar double agent. The Piece of Eden shows the locations of other pieces spread around the world, which is what Abstergo was after. Desmond also discovers that one of his captors is actually a member of the Assassins working to help him escape.
Assassin’s Creed II
In what is now known to be typical AC fashion, we pick up right where the last game left off. Desmond, still imprisoned at Abstergo, is then broken out by fellow assassin, Lucy Stillman (Kristen Bell.) They meet up with two other assassin members and get Desmond back in the Animus (one that they’ve built) in a race to find the other Pieces of Eden. This leads to another of Desmond’s ancestors holding some answers.
Ezio Auditore da Firenze is the son of a nobleman during the Italian renaissance. Desmond relives his genetic memories both as way to train himself as an assassin and to track down the other pieces. Desmond jumps into Ezio’s early life leading up to the public hanging of his father and brothers. Ezio then takes up his father’s mantle as an Assassin and escapes the city of Florence with his mother and sister. He runs into his uncle, Mario, who helps him and his family escape and hide out in Mario’s villa in Monteriggioni. There, Mario guides and trains Ezio in the family’s Assassin tradition.
Mario also helps Ezio take apart the conspiracy that brought down their family by finding and assassinating the parties responsible. At the head of this conspiracy is Rodrigo Borgia. Ezio’s trail of revenge takes him from Florence, the regions surrounding Tuscany, Venice and eventually Rome. Along the way he also allies with the likes of Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolò Machiavelli. Among others, these two are also revealed to be members of the order of Assassins.
In the end, Ezio and his Assassin pals infiltrate the Vatican to confront Rodrigo, who is now the Pope. After the fight (yes, you get to fight the freaking Pope!) Ezio decides not to kill Rodrigo as it won’t bring his family back. He then retrieves Rodrigo’s Pieces of Eden and uses them to discover and unlock a vault hidden within the cathedral itself. Here, Ezio meets with a hologram of an ancient being from an advanced race. She calls herself Minerva and explains that her people co-existed with ancient humans. They eventually started conflicting with each other starting a war that was interrupted by some celestial phenomena that almost destroyed the planet. The humans that survived built temples around the world, like the vault in the Vatican, to prevent another celestial disaster in the future. After explaining this, Minerva then speaks to Desmond directly, through Ezio, telling him that it is now up to him to prevent a similar disaster in his time.
After this crazy revelation, Desmond is awoken from the Animus as Templar agents from Abstergo are raiding the modern-day Assassin’s safe house. After escaping, Lucy explains to Desmond that the Earth’s weakened magnetic field could be exposed to solar flare radiation that would result in a catastrophe similar to what Minerva warned of.
With Desmond and company escaping from Abstergo, they end up at another safe house that just happens to be the villa of Mario Auditore in Monteriggioni. They set up operations and delve back in the Animus to discover the present day location of the Apple of Eden. They pick up right where they left off; Ezio has just come out of the vault in the Vatican and escapes Rome with his uncle, Mario. Back at the villa, Ezio is finally relieved that his vendetta has come to an end, but that relief is cut short when Cesare Borgia, the son of Rodrigo, raids the village the next morning and reclaims the Apple. Ezio springs into action, but is too late and watches as Cesare murders Mario. Ezio now wounded, escapes the village with his mother and sister. Ezio then wakes up in Rome, having collapsed from his injuries. He is then greeted by Macchiavelli who explains that the best way to take down Cesare is to remove his power and control of Rome. Ezio agrees and together with the rest of the Asassin brotherhood, they attack at key points of the city controlled by Templar forces. They also take down public figures crucial to Cesare’s military strength and finances. They also form allegiances with local mercenary groups and even recruiting average citizens of Rome to the Assassin’s cause.
After systematically taking away Cesare’s power, he desperately turns to his father for financial and military strength to fight off the assassins. Rodrigo, seeing his son was too power hungry, tries to poison him. Cesare sees this however, and kills his father in turn. Ezio, watching the entire time behind the scenes, then learns the location of the Apple in the ensuing events. He races to its location and uses its power to dispatch Cesare’s forces and escape to safety.
Cesare’s fall from grace continues as he gets more desparate and is eventually arrested by the papal army, thanks to Ezio. Years later, Ezio tracks down Cesare in Spain trying to raise another army. In the final battle, Ezio bests him and tosses Cesare from a cliff.
Desmond then finds out that Ezio has hidden the Apple in a temple hidden under the Roman coliseum. The modern-day assassins pack everything up and head to the Apple. With his newly developed Assassin abilities, Desmond is able to track down the temple entrance holding the Apple. Inside, Desmond and his pals find the Apple. Desmond picks it up and time is frozen around him. He is the only one that can move but he isn’t in control of his body. He sees images of a person that looks like Minerva, but calls herself Juno. She tells Desmond that Lucy must not be allowed to accompany him. Juno then uses Desmond to stab Lucy in the stomach, after which she releases her control over him and both Lucy and Desmond collapse to the ground.
Still in a coma, Desmond has been put back in the Animus to try to save his mind. This time, however, the Animus has been put into a “safe mode” of sorts. He wakes up on a small island construct and is being guided by Subject Sixteen. Sixteen was Abstergo’s test subject prior to Desmond’s capture. He tells Desmond that the way to get his mind back is to revisit the lives of his ancestors until their stories have completed. Only then will his mind differentiate itself from the minds of Ezio and Altaïr and bring him out of his coma.
So Desmond jumps back in the shoes of Ezio, this time as an older man in his fifties trying to track down the Assassin’s library. His journey takes him to Masyaf, the headquarters of the local Assassin’s order that Altaïr was once a member of. Ezio finds the library, but a small army of Templars are already there trying to procure the information for themselves. He escapes and finds one of five keys needed to open the library.
The rest of the keys are hidden throughout the city of Constantinople. Once there, Ezio is introduced to a member of the local Assassin’s order, who serves as his guide in the city. He also meets the acquaintance of a fellow Italian, Sofia Sartor. With their assistance, Ezio is able to track down the remaining keys, while also dealing with a local power struggle that the Templars are trying to win. With the keys in his possession, Ezio discovers that they hold a secret of their own. In each of the keys, Altaïr has recorded some of his memories, allowing Ezio (and Desmond) to relive the aftermath of Altaïr’s discovery of the Piece of Eden.
These memories show Altaïr’s rise to leader of the Assassins in Masyaf, then being betrayed by a fellow Assassin who disagreed with his treatment of Al Mualim, and his eventual return years later to reclaim the leadership. After all this, when he is close to death, Altaïr is shown locking himself away in the library with his Piece of Eden to keep it out of Templar hands.
After seeing all this, Desmond is then approached by another Minerva-like being called Jupiter. He explains to Desmond that the purpose for all of their Temples was to acquire data in the hopes of preventing another disastrous solar flare. All of this data was sent to a central Temple where they could put all of that information to use. Jupiter reveals the location of that Temple to Desmond as being somewhere in the northeastern United States. Desmond then wakes from his coma and announces that he knows where to go.
And that’s where we currently stand with the Assassin’s Creed story so far. Hopefully I’ve helped catch you up story-wise or at least given you a better understanding of what’s going whilst you’re out there tomahawking fools in AC3!